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Tim Noonan Shoots Boy to Man with Sony F55

In the ‘Boy to Man’ series adventurer and filmmaker Tim Noonan embarks on a solo journey of self-discovery to worlds beyond his imagination to try and unlock the mysteries of what it means to be the ultimate man. Throughout this epic series, Noonan first has to earn the trust of some of the world’s least known tribes. With just the clothes on his back and a Sony F55 camera, he is put through rituals, initiations and gruelling tests to man-up and prove himself worthy of their respect.

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Noonan is host and creator of the TV series, Boy to Man, Wildman: Extreme Adventurer (UK)& Rite of Passage (US) and operates out of Sydney Australia. Noonan explained why his choice of camera was so critical for the unique series Boy to Man, “Moving to the Sony F55 was my first real foray into Sony’s top end cameras. For years as a reporter-cameraman on Australian network Seven's Sunday Night programme, I was wedded to the Sony F3 so the F55 was a natural progression on my series Boy to Man.”

It was nearly two years ago that Noonan embarked on this worldwide quest to film the most extreme coming of age rituals in some of the most brutal and remote locations on the planet. He knew this was always going to be tough but he also knew he didn't just want to film the rites of passage, he wanted to put himself through them too.

He continued, “I needed a camera to match the challenge and the Sony F55 is a resilient, bullet-proof weapon that can withstand the harshest conditions while still delivering blue-chip pictures. Because the camera could be stripped down, I could run, hunt for days and take it virtually anywhere without being too precious or it breaking my back with weight. At the same time, when I wanted to kit it out for bigger and more complex shoots, I had the choice.”

Noonan takes five between shots.

Noonan takes five between shots.

As Noonan is shooting the series himself he can’t afford for gear to fail or the whole project comes to a grinding halt. In such remote locations, he’s often days away from medical help, and for his camera, weeks away from any servicing centre should any issues arise.

Noonan explained, “After months on the road, I would return to Sydney, recoup for a few weeks before heading back on the road. Despite its quality and the pictures it pumps out, it’s a no-fuss camera which is what I like most, so I can focus on what’s most important, storytelling and getting out alive! I love the way so much can be customised on the F55 from the viewfinder to the buttons and fast menus. Shifting between 25fps and slow-mo is always a custom button away and when you’re shooting once in a lifetime scenes that can never be repeated again, I’m ever-grateful I can capture the moment whatever the frame-rate. Focus peaking is perhaps the greatest attribute of this camera. There is nothing worse than soft pictures because you couldn’t find focus in the heat of a moment. Finding focus is rarely an issue with the F55 and it’s almost impossible to get it wrong.”

On a series such as Boy to Man quality and reliability are absolutely critical as Noonan explained, “The pictures straight out of the camera barely needed grading. For convenience I didn’t shoot flat images or use SLOG, preferring to create my own scene files in camera. This freed up my online editor to focus more on effects and polish the films rather than design the colour palette from scratch. This wouldn’t suit every production, but I knew the colours I wanted and the post team was ever thankful for the results. I love the capability to shoot 4K and the XAVC codec is incredibly stable and never failed me. On Boy to Man, I used the camera almost everyday for nearly 18 months. I like to mix up my shooting-style depending on the scene - the camera worked as well off the shoulder as it did on the tripod. I shot the series with a mixture of PL and EF lenses and the ability to shift between them is surprisingly easy and fast. The mounts never failed and allowed me ultimate flexibility to use whatever glass I wanted.”

Noonan trains novice camera operator.

Noonan trains novice camera operator.

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